Tuesday 17 September 2019

'I pulled pints and cut turf here back in the day' - Mike Pence speaks to small crowd in Doonbeg

Warm welcome: US Vice President Mike Pence in Doonbeg with his wife Karen and his mother Nancy. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Warm welcome: US Vice President Mike Pence in Doonbeg with his wife Karen and his mother Nancy. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

The small number of Mike Pence supporters who waited in the rain and cold yesterday in Doonbeg were not let down as the US vice president spent more than 10 minutes with them chatting about his Irish roots.

While the crowds were significantly smaller than the turnout for Donald Trump's visit in June, the 60-year-old politician greeted them individually upon his arrival to the Co Clare village.

Accompanied by his wife Karen, his sister Anne and mother Nancy, Mr Pence recalled how as a young student he pulled pints in Morrissey's pub and tried his hand at cutting turf in a Clare bog.

"I don't know if I remember how to pull a pint, but I pulled more than a few when I was a young lad when I worked for Pat Morrissey back in the day in 1981," he said.

"I cut some turf when I was here too. I was supposed to come here with my grandfather, but in the year I came to Ireland he passed away.

"I came instead with my aunt [and cousin] and stayed here in Doonbeg for several weeks and they made me work for my keep."

Asked if he would comment on his views on migration, Mr Trump's right-hand man admitted his family and America had "greatly benefited" from it.

"It's very moving to be back in Doonbeg with my wife and wonderful mother.

"Her grandmother grew up in that house behind us," he said.

Before greeting his supporters, Mr Pence embraced his distant cousin, Hugh McNally, who now runs Morrissey's pub in the village.

The American visitors and their entourage then spent the evening dining at an invitation-only event inside the seafood bar.

The handful of Trump and Pence fans present at the protest-free event were vocal about why they support the controversial politician.

Business-owner Rita McInerney, who runs the Wild Atlantic Break, told the Irish Independent Doonbeg should see a boost in its economy following the vice-president's visit.

"Any publicity in the town is a good thing for businesses like ours," she said.

"Since Trump's visit, many people now want to visit and spend money in this village, which really goes a long way for the local community."

Irish Independent

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